Today is the first day of 2018. I wanted to sit down and write about what happened to me in 2017 and what is on the horizon for me in 2018.
Here’s a short version of what life brought me in 2017:
- Got accepted to MSTI(Master’s of Science in Technology Innovation) at GIX(Global Innovation Exchange) program at University of Washington
- Quit my job at NBC Universal in July
- Launched and delivered a Crowdfunding campaign for Neosegment LED displays
- Worked on more than a dozen of my own hardware projects involving Raspberry Pi, ESP32, ESP8266 and Arduino
- My baby boy turned one and by the end of the year is able to talk in short sentences
- Briefly met with Satya Nadela and Steve Ballmer
- Built some robots, including BOTomazov, a selfie drawing robot
- Finished first quarter of Master’s program with 3.93 GPA
Below, I’ll expand a bit more on all of these changes and provide more details about them.
In a couple days it’ll be four years since me and my wife moved from California to Washington State. When we moved here, we had no idea what to expect and what opportunities will be open for us. We didn’t have jobs and were self-employed. Thankfully we were able to get employment within that first year and buy our first home before prices started to rise exponentially. During 2017 we as a family had to make a lot of big decisions. Should I keep working at a job that is going to disappear soon? If not, how are we going to survive and pay for everything? How can we support our child’s development in these crucial first years? How can we survive in a country where medical care costs are exorbitant? These and many more difficult questions had to be answered and turned into actionable items.
By mid-April it was revealed that I got accepted to a new program at University of Washington to be among 10 students that are from the US. The circumstances at my day job were quickly degrading, making the job likely to disappear in the next few months. We had to make a job-related decision quickly and with support of my wonderful wife, we were able to figure out a plan of action:
- Save money via coupons and apps like Ibotta
- Research health insurance options on Health Insurance Marketplace (thanks, Obama!)
- Travel less (grandparents are invited here instead)
- Make money on the side via remote work and side projects (like me selling Raspberry Pi cables on eBay)
- Find free or cheap activities to do as a family
So far we’ve been able to manage things pretty well, but the toughest thing for me by far has been not having a consistent income and benefits. Grad school is not cheap and seeing our savings drain over time is giving me a harder time than I imagined. At this point, I’m hoping for a miracle or two.
Despite the finances, having couple months off work during a beautiful PNW summer resulted in lots of time spent with our amazing son. We went to parks, museums, lakes, camping, and a few hikes!
The transition from software development to hardware or fuller-stack development has been very educational for me, and the direction of my transition is more closely aligned to my passions and interests. Going through Grad school will help me take next steps in my career, whether working for a large company or joining / creating a start up. I wrote more about my career decision in my previous blog post:
During 2017 I have been focused on creating innovative solutions to solve problems in various fields (see https://maxoffsky.com/research/ and Neosegment as examples). I’ve been learning about, and doing the following:
- Circuit board design
- Prototyping via 3D printing
- Circuit board manufacturing
- Programming for Arduino, ESP8266, ESP32 and Raspberry Pi
Thanks to grad school, I got a chance to research topics that are interesting to me (IoT, robotics, remotely controlled devices, signal processing). I’ve started a new section on this blog under https://maxoffsky.com/research/ where I will be posting more about my research soon. Studying at University of Washington will open up more research opportunities in 2018 and I’m hoping for a lot of meaningful work to come out of it!
In light of these changes, 2018 will be an interesting year for me. My family will be largely living off our savings (I missed the crypto train) while I finish my degree. Grad School will bring some good opportunities in research, prototyping and manufacturing of IoT-related devices. I will be developing more side projects that will solve some specific problems in fields of robotics, connected devices, automation, and will document my progress on this blog and on my Twitter account.
Consider supporting my research and my work. For more information see this page: https://maxoffsky.com/support-me/